A few weeks ago, I had some fun with Lisa Reiter's flash fiction challenge, Bitesize Memoir. I found the task pretty challenging. It takes a lot of skill to scale down a piece of writing into such a small bite. Writers tend to want to add detail upon detail.. (Or is that just me?)
I did a little research and found everything and more one needs to know about this tightly trimmed task.
There are many names for it. Sophie Novak breaks it down on TheWritePractice.
There are How To's with detailed guidelines on being brief.
There are whole websites devoted to it. (Try flashfictiononline.)
There's even a National Flash Fiction Day in the UK!
TheReviewReview lists numerous places you can publish or read these tiny verbal installments.
Flash fiction carries a few simple rules: keep it brief (duh); make a story (beginning, middle, end); close with a surprise.
Sounds simple, yes? Uh, yeah, no. Not for me. I write novels because I'm like a starting pitcher. I need a few innings to warm up. Think of flash fiction as your closer who comes in an inning early. Flash needs to be tight AND pack a punch AND leave them wanting more. Not so easy.
However, this writing exercise has been great for me. The task of trimming unnecessary verbiage from a wordy piece of prose is like squeezing your 40-year-old self into your college jeans. Not impossible, but it may require a diet.
I'm on a flash fiction diet. Join me! It's always better with friends.
This week, I found another amazing writing resource, Charli Mills. And guess what? Yep, Charli likes to write flash fiction. She's tempting visitors with her own short challenges. I tried this week's: Flash Fiction with a Twist. Write a story of exactly 99 words; start with a twist. Post it in the comments section on Charli's site (carrotranch.com) by Tuesday, May 20, to be included in her round-up. Or just write it for fun. Please share your links here, too, so I can see what you've come up with.
Here's mine. I'm posting it with Charli, too.
Dan Fields leapt out of the coroner’s van and searched his pockets for a cigarette. He’d seen plenty of dead bodies in his time to know they weren’t supposed to breathe.
“This is a problem,” he told himself. He realized he had another problem: he’d quit smoking last week after Carol left. He shoved a stale stick of gum in his mouth and flicked the foil wrapper into the street.
He heard a thud against the van wall. No, a pounding. No, a thumping. The whole van shook. This wasn't good.
Dan worked alone.
Yep, this was a problem.